Summary: Victory in the Valley of our lives.
I Kings 20:28, "Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, ’Thus says the Lord: "Because the Syrians have said, ’The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,’ therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord."’" All right, the 9th century BC was dark for the nation of Israel. The northern kingdom of Syria was very powerful. Israel was very weak at this time; at low ebb spiritually, morally, financially, militarily. They were at low ebb.
The king of Syria at that time, a fellow by the name of Ben Hadad, was a very wicked, opportunistic man - a perfect type of the devil. You know the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He likes to exploit weakness. Well, that’s the way the devil is; that’s the way Ben Hadad was. Ben Hadad saw the weakness of Israel and he sent this message to the king of Israel. He said, listen, "Your silver and your gold are mine. Your wives and your children, they are mine." What are these things - gold, and silver, and finances, and family? What have we been saying? That’s your what? That’s your seed. And he comes to devour your seed. So Ben Hadad sends this message to weak-willed Ahab and said, "Your gold and your silver are mine. Your children and your wives are mine." And weak Ahab just acquiesced and said, "It is as you say. I will forfeit these things to you. I will hand my seed over to you."
But let me tell you something about Ben Hadad and the devil - they are never satisfied. The Bible says in the Book of Proverbs that "death and destruction are never satisfied." The devil will never steal from you so much that he finally says, "Well, that’s enough." He will never make you so miserable that finally he has a little bit of pity and says, "Well, maybe I ought to lighten up on them." The devil is not constructed that way. And when Ben Hadad saw how easily Ahab acquiesced, it created a further lust in him. A killer instinct rose up on the inside of him and said, "No, I will increase my demand." He sends a second message and said, "This is what I’m going to do. I will send my soldiers throughout your kingdom. They will enter your houses and whatever is pleasant in their eyes, they will reach forth their hand and take it."
Now, don’t just sit here and not feel something today. When I tell you that Satan wants to get a platoon of demons together, give them your address, and charge them to come into your life and take everything that is pleasant and desirable in your eyes away from you and take it back as a trophy of hell, how does that make you feel? I mean, there needs to be something on the inside of you that says, "Well now, I just don’t think so! No, that’s just not ? no, that’s just completely unacceptable! That is not going to happen."
Well, with this second message, the elders of Israel finally found their courage and said, "Look, we may be weak and we may be outnumbered; we might not have much of a military anymore; but you know what? That’s just too much, and we cannot submit to that. We would rather go forth and die as free men on the field of battle with our hand clasping our sword, than to surrender like cowards and let our lives just be ravished by Ben Hadad. No, we will meet you on the battlefield." And they went forth, and they fought on the mountains of Israel. And even though it was hopeless and the odds were against them - you must understand this principle, that when God’s people rise up and face the fight for their inheritance, God shows up and fights by their side. And God delivered them and gave them an improbable victory.
Ben Hadad, no doubt shocked, went back to Syria to lick his wounds, and he stayed there for half a year, but six months later he came back. Everybody say, "He came back." You know, you can believe for a lot, but you can’t believe for the devil not to be the devil. You know, what else is the devil going to be but the devil? The devil can’t get born again; the devil can’t get saved; the devil can’t renew his mind; the devil can’t change his spots ? he’s going to be the devil. And when you beat him he may slink away for a while, but be sure that he’s going to come back.